The Attack headed to the Royal City on Friday night hoping to shut down a red hot Guelph Storm team who came into the game winners of six straight. The Storm have been off since last weekend while the Attack visited the Barrie Colts last night, coming away with an 8-5 defeat at the Colts Centre. The season series has been split 1-1 so far between the Midwest Division rivals and Owen Sound looked to gain the upper hand and to stop a streak. Mack Guzda earned his second start in as many nights while Nico Daws was between the pipes for the Storm. Both goaltenders have earned OHL On The Run Player of the Week Honours already this season and prior to the game Guelph Captain Cam Hillis earned the Player of the Week award for the past weekend.
The Storm came out of the gates with energy, almost scoring on a goalmouth scramble but the Attack regained their composure and started to take control of the play. Matt Philip had the best chance for the Bears in the early going, but Daws was up to the challenge. The best opportunity of the period came on a play where Sergey Popov managed to deke around two Guelph defensemen to get in on the goaltender alone, but he couldn’t find the back of the net. The first period ended in a scoreless draw and the Attack more than doubled Guelph’s shots on net by a margin of 9-4.
The second period began with more pizzazz than the opening frame, as Guelph opened the scoring less than three minutes into the period after Pavel Gogolev found himself all alone on a breakaway. Josh Wainman added his 3rd of the season five minutes later and the Attack were in a 2-0 hole. Daylon Groulx almost cut into the lead immediately after the second goal when he rung one off the crossbar after beating Daws with the shot. Unfortunately, it bounced away harmlessly. The Fort Erie native made amends just minutes later when he took advantage of a Guelph turnover and this time there was no post, only twine for his 8th of the season. Now a 2-1 game, the Attack began to put their foot on the gas. Nolan Seed found a streaking Kaleb Pearson for a breakaway opportunity but Daws turned the puck away. The Storm earned a late power play opportunity, but the Attack shut it down without allowing a single shot on Guzda for the two minutes. After forty minutes, Owen Sound were trailing 2-1 after outshooting the Storm 20-18.
Owen Sound needed to get a goal in the third period to regain even footing in the game. Early on, Stepan Machacek earned a two minute minor for a check from behind. Overage defenseman Fedor Gordeev took exception to the hit and instigated a fight with the 16-year-old Czech forward. Gordeev received 2, 5, and 10 for the play and would sit for the remainder of the period. Just after the halfway mark of the period, Andrei Bakanov appeared to have scored for the Storm. But on the first night of the new replay system being implemented across the OHL, it was determined that the play was offside and it was no goal. The Attack had life once again trailing only by one. Unfortunately, the Attack couldn’t find the tying goal and the Storm would score on a late power play to extend the lead to 2-1. Just 22 seconds later, Adam McMaster stepped into a wrist shot from the slot to put the Attack back within one. The Bears continued to push looking for the tying goal and pulled the goalie with 90 seconds remaining. In the final minute, Storm captain Hillis missed the net by inches with a shot that would have put the game away. It turned out to be icing and the Attack would make Guelph pay immediately. Matt Philip found himself alone in front of the net with plenty of time and he put it past Daws to tie the game at three with thirty seconds remaining. The two teams would play out the final thirty seconds and take it to overtime looking for the extra point.
Guelph had the first opportunity of overtime, but Guzda handled it with ease. Owen Sound had the ensuing chances, including a rush from Kirwin and Popov that almost sealed the victory for the away team. Unfortunately, the extra point was not for Owen Sound as Daniil Chayka scored the extra time winner for the 4-3 win over Owen Sound.
Sergey Popov was voted by the fans as the Hatten Home Building Centre Hardest Working Player of the Game. The Owen Sound Bug Juice North Stars Three Stars were Cooper Walker, Matt Philip and Pavel Gogolev.
The overtime loss puts Owen Sound at 23 points on the season, tied with the Guelph Storm.
The Attack are back in action tomorrow night against the Kingston Frontenacs for Special Olympics Ontario night. Tickets are available at the MacVicar & McComb Sutton Realty Attack Box Office.